Monday, January 31, 2011

Let the Competition Begin

I have a lot of dreams that I am a contestant on American Idol...I am not kidding...A LOT. They range from me being prepared and confident to me feeling like I am going to throw up, forgetting which song I am singing, and terrified of Simon Cowell.

When I wake up I always think, well that was weird. What made me dream all that? 

Then I remember, oh yeah, it is because anytime I sing to myself  I actually think, hey this would be a great song to sing on American Idol. I am not kidding. As I work out, I belt out songs. In the car, I belt out songs. When I clean, I belt out songs. AND in my head I am on stage singing on American Idol. 

Go ahead, you can openly mock me.

Reality always materializes, mostly when Hubby makes fun of my loud, breathless, ipod, work-out singing with a sarcastic, "you sound sweet". It is then that I realize I will never be an American Idol star. I am just out of my league with the crooners of the nation.

Fortunately, I dream about another thing ALOT, this is a little more attainable, reachable, doable. I dream about crafting.
I dream of new projects. I dream about sewing. If it has to do with being crafty, you name it I dream it. So when I heard about the Next American Crafter competition hosted by Nap Time Crafters, I knew I needed to apply. I linked up my favorite recent project and waited to see if I was going to get my "ticket to Hollywood".

This morning, well I got my ticket. Woohoo! So now officially...




I start competing this week. Ahhhh!!! I am pretty sure I am going to have way more throw up moments then confident ones, but that is okay because there are no Simon Cowells' in this competition. The judges for this contest are the nicest and sweetest. They are-

Linda- Craftaholics Anonymous
 Mandy- Sugarbee Crafts
Jen- Tatertots and Jello

So this week the theme is Be Mine Valentine





So keep in touch. Send happy thoughts or chocolate my way. At the end of this week I will start my journey to be the Next American Crafter.

oh here comes the nervous I am going to throw up feeling...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Laundry Room Poster

I promise, promise, promise to have pictures of my laundry room up soon. Truth be told because my laundry room is not close to any natural light I have had a bugger of a time getting a good photo. AND I have three more things on my to-do list.

1. Fix the back of store bought bookshelf since Littlest Little Man put his knee through it promptly after hubby had put it on...you know what I am talking about, the paper/cardboard backing on cheap bookshelves.

2. Replace light fixture with cute hanging shade covered in my new favorite fabric.

3. Hang up the framed poster that I made.

Since I love ya all so much, and because I am WAY past due sharing my finished laundry room I am sharing the poster print I made with you all.


Click on the download link. This will take you to Google Docs, the only program I have yet to really understand how to share files. My original was set up with a pixel level that would allow me to print an 11x14.

I hope you enjoy. I hope it works for you. Let me know.

Boy am I glad this poster is pretty, because it just reminded me that I have load after load of laundry to do today. If it weren't so pretty I would just be depressed right now.

In a Nutshell: Recovery and Get 'er Done

This year winter has been rough sickness wise. I mean really it is like a nasty chain reaction around here. Wee One and I seem to be always the most affected and the longest lasting. Yuck. 

This week started with Wee One, Hubby, and me wrapping up the sicky train.

Most of you might know when Little Man is sick, this happens-

he is in our bed, yup that is where he sleeps
sorry for the lame picture, I was NOT about to wake him up with my flash

When Wee One gets sick, he is well how do I say this nicely...a little more demanding and umm spoiled. Which means that I end up getting no sleep, lots of stress, and one of these babies-

see the cold sore...yeah I am pretty sure I have been getting these every 3 weeks 
thanks Little Man
oh and I guess stress also makes me where no make-up and look like I have gone
through the ringer
 awe-some

With everyone getting over being sick, of course I had mountains of this to get done-

clothes, blankies, bedding, more clothes


 Then everyone was recovered and life seemed all dandy and back to normal. Unfortunately no one told our garage door opener. Friday hubby left for work and the garage door opener decided to make some pretty terrifying noise and then just die. Which meant that for now we had to manually lift up the door...I mean I know people used to do it all the time, but has anyone done it recently. That sucker is HEAVY.

After one time opening it, I immediately morphed into a 1950's housewife and demand that my big strong manly hubby open the door every time I needed it. Including when I came home from a Girls' Night Just Dance Party at 11:00 at night. Hehehe.

PS that game is AWESOME.

Okay back to the garage door.

We were really worried that this was not going to be something we could fix, therefore pricey and inconvenient. I had a friend a couple of years ago do research on fixing a garage door and she found over and over that most people strongly recommended that it should not be attempted on one's own. Something about springs snapping and ripping off limbs.

So I was a little worried when hubby said he thought it might be fixable by him since it didn't have to do with any of the springs. I kind of like hubby with his arms.

So hubby spent the day taking apart the opener, assessing the sitch, getting parts, and putting it all back together-
hubby saving us tons of money by being all Mr. Fix-it

Hubby aka Super Fix-it guy fixed our garage door. Woohoo. Garage door 0, Hubby 1. That's right we won. I am back to lazily pressing a button in my car to get the door to open. Thank Heavens.

I am not going to lie, it was a stressful week. I may or may not have eaten my feelings a lot this week. I may or may not have eaten my Valentine's Day decorations

Oldest Little Man finally noticed the depleting candy levels and said ,"Hey I thought we weren't supposed to eat these!" Head hung in shame I said, "No, no we weren't".


Here's is to a healthy and much more relaxing week. Well as relaxing as the Three Little Monsters Men will allow it to be.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

PF Chang's Mongolian Beef


I am not sure why it took me so long to find this recipe. I mean really I LOVE, love, love PF Chang's Mongolian Beef. In fact, I never order anything else. I love it so much that I pretty much stab someone with a fork if they want to try and make our PF Chang's meals "family style". When ever we schedule a date/outing there (which is rare...probably why I am obsessed with this dish) I immediately start dreaming of my beloved beef. I know it is not right that a person should love food that much, but lets face it I do and I am not ashamed to admit it.

On one of our last dates there, I found myself thinking someone must have made a copycat of this recipe somewhere. Alas, I just forgot about trying to find it.

Fast forward to a week ago. I found the copy cat in a recipe book that I checked out from the library. I might have literally squealed and jumped for joy. I bookmarked it and set it aside to make a copy. I put the dish on my menu for the following week...I know you are surprised I didn't try to make it that night. 

The day I planned to make it I lost the recipe and the book was already back at the library. NOOOOO!!! Hubby suggest I look online. Guess what? Very similar recipes are pretty much everywhere on the internet. So I printed off one of them and I was off. (SO no one worry that I am infringing on copyright laws by sharing this recipe...well for the most part after all I don't know where these people got their recipe).

The recipe is pretty easy to follow. For the most part the ingredients are not too pricey. I did not alter the recipe at all. I wanted to see how the original recipe faired compared to the restaurant meal. As I was making it I was a little leery. It simply didn't look like my Chang's Beef. At one point I think I actually slumped over and pouted at Hubby that it was going to "suck"...yeah it was a glass half empty kind of day. He of course encouraged me to keep going, probably because we had no other option for dinner and there was pricey beef in the skillet.

I will tell you, once I poured on the sauce in the last steps I was almost sold. The smell! Well it was all that was glorious I tell you. If I closed my eyes and tuned out the screaming Little Men running around the house, I could almost imagine I was sitting there at PF Chang's. Hope started to bubble up.

I will contain myself and not write a novel about the fireworks that occurred when I actually ate this dish. Let's just say that I almost speared hubby and each one of the boys when the reached for a seconds of the beef. Yeah, it was that good.

SO, this recipe gets my stamp of approval. The only differences in this dish and the real thing were minor things that could only be fixed if I actually made it in a restaurant grade kitchen with professional equipment.

If you like this dish at PF Chang's give this recipe a go. Your stomach will thank you!

Is it okay that I am drooling and already wanting this meal again???

PF Chang's Mongolian Beef 

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced (I used a paste)
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup)
1 lb flank steak
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 large green onions, sliced in 2" segments

Heat 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan on med heat, oil shouldn't get too hot. Add ginger and garlic to the pan. Almost right away add the soy sauce and water. 

Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce. Raise the heat to medium high and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until thickens slightly. Remove from heat.

Slice the steak against the grain into 1/4" thick slices. You can get this cut if you tilt your knife 45 degrees as you slice.

Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch, applying a thin dusting to both sides. Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.

As the beef sits, heat up the oil in a wok or deep skillet. The oil should be hot, but not smoking.

Add the beef and saute for 2 minutes or until the beef edges are just beginning to darken. Stir meat around so it cooks evenly. Remove the meat and rest it on paper towels. Pour the oil out of the wok.

Put the pan back over med heat and put the meat back in, let it simmer for about a minute.

Add the sauce, cook for another minute while stirring. Then add the green onions. Cook for another minute.

Remove the meat/onions from the pan and put on a serving dish.

Serve with brown or white rice.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hooo Loves Ya Baby: Valentine Tutorial


Oh this little guy makes me happy. I saw a toy like this in a magazine, except he wasn't represent'n (that's right I pulled out my gangstah) my man Cupid.

I knew right away I needed to take a mental snapshot and make a version for myself all done up Valentine style.

So I did, and of course I am gonna share the love. After all it is Valentine's.

What you need:

four color coordinating colors of Valentine colored felt
white felt 
black felt scraps
yellow felt scrap
coordinating valentiney print, not even 1/4 of a yard
stuffing
thread
hot glue
My Hoo Loves Ya Now pattern




Cut the following:

aprox 40 circles (pattern), 10 of each color


2 belly pieces (pattern), 4 strips measuring 2 1/2" by 8 (mine were originally much longer, so ignore the picture)


4 flowers, 2 red, 2 white and 2 black circles (pattern)


4 feet (pattern) from one of the the felt colors


Whew...okay now that that is all done...

oh wait, cut out a little triangle for the beak, sorry no picture of that...

Okay now let's put this sucker together...

First layout your circles to see where you will want them and in what color pattern, mine is pretty random.


Make stacks of your rows of dots to keep them in the order you want.

Start at the bottom, making sure the dots hang over the edge about half way. Pin and sew on.


Continue each subsequent row, working from the bottom to the top. Once you get to the top, DO NOT sew these circles on. Place them where you want them and then run a line of hot glue running left to right in the center of the circles. This way there is a "fringe" of feathers on the bottom edge of this row and the top edge sticks up too.


Now for Mr. Owl's face.

Layer the red and white flowers on top of each other, like this. Place the black circle in the middle. Sew the circle in place. 



Sew the eyes and beak in place. Sew the beak on first so that it lays behind the eye feathers. Sew the eyes to the main part by just sewing in the black circles. It is cuter if the eye feathers are ruffly.  


On to his feet.

Sew the feet onto the end of each leg strip. You will have four when all is done.



After you have folded feet up like the above picture, place leg and foot combo right sides facing together. You will have a pair. Pin together. Sew around all but the top edge.


Clip corners on feet so they will turn out better.


Turn out his little legs.


Here is where you can see just how "too much" I had. Stuff the legs/feet. Make sure to leave 1/2"-1" of fabric at the top. I had to cut off a lot of excess since mine were too long.


Lay the owl face up. Place his legs in the center on top of his little face.


Pin his feet inside the main pieces.


***make sure to fold up and in all of the little circles so that they do not get caught in your seam**


Sew all around the outside, leaving a 2-3" opening to turn out.


Stuff your bird with fluff. Make sure he is could and fat. Hand sew the opening closed.


Now set him in a pretty place to show him off, or give him to your favorite little Valentine.


Linking Here:

The CSI Project: Week Valentine's
Kojo Designs: Fun Friday Finds
Fingerprints on the Fridge: Feature Yourself Friday
Somewhat Simple: Strut Your Stuff Thursday
Be Different Act Normal: Show and Tell Saturdays
I Heart Naptime: Sunday Scoop

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Super Boy" Birthday Present

Middle Little Man had a bday party to go to this past weekend. 

I knew about it for awhile, but did that stop me from procrastinating the purchasing of a present? Duh, of course not.

To make a really long story (which I have been told that I can tell) short, I found myself asking hubby at 8:30 in the morning the day of party (ride was coming at 10:30) if I should run to The Mart in my jams or if I should whip up a present. 

He supported me whipping up something, glad to know he has confidence in my sweet skills.

Here is what I came up with after once again rummaging through my fabric stash...

One Super Hero Cape for one Super Boy-


Of course it must have his initial on it...


I needed a model to take a picture. I had instant volunteers.



In the true spirit of procrastination, I also had nothing to wrap the present in, well except leftover Christmas paper.

So with barely time to spare, came this little pouch to tuck his cape away in for when he is walking around as his alter ego.




Now I just need to sew three more, since my Little Men don't want to be left out of the hero fun.

In a Nutshell: Cooped Up

This is what happens when it is-
freezing outside
one or more Little Man is getting over a cold
I am babysitting and don't want to load everyone into the van
AND you have Little Men who are tired of being
ALL COOPED UP...








Whew! Time for a break...oh and of course a SNACK.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Did You Win?


I know all of you have been wishing and hoping and waiting and crossing your fingers...

The lucky finger crosser was-

#47, I am assuming Kathryn of Stephen and Kathryn, who said

After visiting All Modern Dining Room Furniture, I fell in love with the not
Neutral "city on a plate"! I would either choose Tokyo or Washington D.C.!!!! 

Congrats Kathryn. Email me your contact info and I will get the gift certificate to you.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Love is in the Air


Cupid has been to my house. For those of you who have been with me awhile, some of these decorations look familiar. In fact some of my very first tutorials on my crafting-for-all-to-see-blog was for the polka dot pillow, the XOXO pillows, and the L-O-V-E banner.

I added a few more lovelies to the decor.

This ruffly goodness is one of my favorites-


I added another pillow with dots to tie in more of the theme...pink and red of all sorts-


I also added a super simple heart garland-


The rest of the decor all resurfaced from last year-


Okay, except I bought new candy...


Oh wait, this was new...


My lucky Cricut-owning friend came over and we had a vinyl cutting party. Mostly for my new organized laundry room, which you most likely will see next week. HOWEVER, while I had her hostage I also had her cut me out some cute Valentiney sayings to simply go over already hung up pictures.

It was so simple and quick. If you have a vinyl cutting machine I am jealous pick a couple of little phrases. Slap them on your cutest family pictures.

I choose:
kisses
sweetheart
xoxo
and heart shapes


AND if you are wondering, no I do not decorate for every holiday, but I almost always have a Valentines' Day party for my Little Men so it is always a good excuse to decorate. I know you were shaking your head at me saying, "crazy lady". 

I have a couple other Valentines's Day crafts/decor for you next week too.

I know, you can hardly wait.
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